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February 10th, 2006

08:58 pm: eff you
dear lj,

i'm breaking up with you. don't try to follow me either. if it was meant to be i'll come back around some day.

January 27th, 2006

10:13 pm: taxis
i've had quite a few interesting experiences with taxis during the last four months. i remember the first cab ride i took in shenyang. too loaded down with essentials from Carrefore to take the bus, i was scared shitless because i forgot how to say my address and i wasn't too sure on where it was. luckily though, the cab driver was friendly and willing to work with me...either that or he took pity on my scared face and mumbly chinese. i tipped him 5 yuan because i was so grateful to get back to my place. tipping is something that is really unheard of though, and can be even considered insulting.

since that first ride i've had both some great and not so great times riding in cabs. i've learned when and how to bargain against the meter, and that at 5 o'clock its useless to try and get a cab from anywhere back to my place because the school i live at is waaaaaaaaay far out of the way. once you hail a cab and tell him the address you and your baggage get kicked to the curb....except this one time the driver explained he had to drop the other passenger off first then he'd take me out to the school. thirty minutes later, with the meter still running, we still weren't back. we had taken the looooong way and when i protested that we should be going straight not left he started talking on his cell phone. luckily when we got there i had 20 yuan change, which was the proper fair although the meter said 33. i just dropped it and skipped off.

when i came back from beijing i wasn't so lucky. i got CHEATED big time. from the airport, i negotiated a fair price ($50) before getting in the cab this time, but was irritated to find that again i was being taken on tour de downtown shenyang. so when we got there the driver complained that it was much farther and that i wasnt being fair. he was demanding i pay him $100. it was 1am, pitch black, and the campus was deserted for the Chinese New Year. i had no choice but to fork out the money.

but tonight i paid only 35 yuan for what should have been a 50 yuan ride. my chinese friend with me was amazed at how i bargained with the driver. getting cheated a few times will make you wise up. also, i've learned how to speak enough chinese to not come across as a naive tourist.

i'm really homesick but its cab rides like tonight's that make me glad to be here. i don't want to pursue a career or grad school in Chinese, but it feels nice to be able to speak another languauge. i definately need to increase my vocabulary though.

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

January 3rd, 2006

07:20 pm: catch up
dec 24
i spent christmas eve at sunny night club. there was a big, big party there. apparently christmas is the biggest party night of the year, sort of like new year's in the states. they had a cover, which they never have, but stephen let me and my friend in for free. i had wanted to spend a quiet night at home passing the time without any reminders that it was christmas, but i ended up letting my lynn drag me out. inside, shiny christmas things covered every surface that wasn't covered with someone's butt. there was a raffle and some lucky folks won dvd players, tvs, laptops, and mp3 players. i was not one of them. at midnight they did a countdown and lit off fireworks on stage. strange.

dec 25-28
talked on the phone a lot. ate noodles and tangerines.

dec 29
received a package from my dad! went downtown to pick it up. inside: christmas cards, cookies, and lots of macaroni and cheese. mmm.

dec 30
went to the gym: treadmill for an hour, then weights, squats, and incline sit-ups. i was the only female in the weights section so i was a little self-conscious but didn't care 'cause it felt so great to be working out again. then lynn invited me to help teach a class with her, so i went. the topic the students were learning about was "people's jobs," so they wanted me to talk about past jobs. i talked about starbucks, campus safety, and apex. the kids were excited to hear more about campus safety, specifically more about whether or not i got to have a gun. this quickly turned into a discussion of guns and how to get one in america (chinese can't legally own guns, and they are hard to get illegally). the little boys in the class were especially wide-eyed with interest. after class, lynn and i decided to try out a pizzeria down the street. it turned out to be excellent, and they served delicious cappuccinos as well.

dec 31
woke up deliciously sore from the gym. went to lynn's grandmother's house for hot pot. her mom, dad, aunt, grandparents, and cousin were there, along with a family friend. the apartment was small (much smaller than mine) but cozy. i felt humbled knowing that four people shared the space--there wasn't room for privacy of any kind. dinner was fun, and since her family speaks no english i got a verbal workout in chinese. it sort of reminded me of being with my family--everyone talking at once, poking fun at each other, laughing and talking really loud. it was really nice. afterward, i headed home on the bus, turned on the tv, and fell asleep to Lord of the Rings in chinese before 11pm.

jan 1
woke up at 6:30am to go skiing, my muscles felt even sorer than the day before. took a bus downtown, met lynn, then took another bus to Tiexi Square, where we waited for yet another bus. arrived at the ski resort at 10:30, got our boots, skis, and hit the flattest slope we could find, as we were both beginners. i've actually been once before, but this was lynn's first time. after one time down the bunny slope we decided to go up the lift. strangely, i wasn't scared to go fast this time like i was before. so i did! i think i got a little better. all in all, it was a really fun day. i only fell twice, and thank god because it's so hard to get up when every muscle in your body is sore. we didn't stop to eat all day because we didn't want to waste any of our limited time on eating. by the time we got back to Tiexi Square we were starving, so we went to that delicious pizzeria we ate at a few days ago.

jan 2
slept it off.

jan 3
bought some movies illegally, made a new years resolution. bought a jump rope.

Current Mood: coldcold
Current Music: polar opposites, modest mouse

December 23rd, 2005

06:57 pm: just thinking about it wears me out.
the only thing worse than spending christmas alone is spending it with people you have to pretend to like. adventure is just that, but lonely. my heart is tired of chasing its tail. it's difficult to love trees and books at the same time.

...Collapse )

Current Music: the heater buzz

December 17th, 2005

02:33 am: i've forgotten why i'm here..

simply put:

after metamorphosis, butterflies eat
only nectar

change is not so sweet for some.

December 6th, 2005

01:20 am: slacker
wow. i've been such a slacker at updating this thing. i have no real excuse except to say that nothing too exciting's been going on. as most everyone knows, i still have no classes, but i think my boss doesn't even know that, because he periodically asks me about "my classes" (you know, the ones he never arranged...ha ha) i have a lot of pictures to post, mostly just of everyday stuff, like spending time with friends, etc.

yesterday was my birthday! i turned t.w.e.n.t.y.f.i.v.e
i had some friends over for hot pot and we made a royal mess of my place then left for downtown. it was -16 Celsius and snowing. first small flakes, then bigger. we had to walk around because we couldn't find a cab. walking quickly turned into gallivanting down the road for me, since snow is such a novelty to me, compared to my chinese friends who get to see this all the time. the city was more deserted than i'd ever seen it. so much fun though...it snowed all night and i just loved it. we stayed out until the sun rose at 7am. while walking from place to place, i didn't recognize anything because of the snow. i felt like i was wandering through a dreamland.

winter break is coming up soon; from the beginning of january through the end of february i don't have to be around shenyang. jeff and i are planning to meet up and travel. right now we're looking into taking a trip through vietnam, starting in hanoi and skimming the beaches up to southern chinese villages and mountains, ending in hong kong. i hope it works out, but where ever we end up going i'm sure it'll be a blast.

i'm starting to feel a little attached to shenyang. of course i dearly miss so many things about being back at home, especially the feeling of being able to go somewhere and understand the social context of what's happening, and be able to "blend in" when i'm doing ordinary things, like buying bananas. but i think about the time in the future when i'll be back in america, thinking back on the life i'm living now...my heart will be forever torn between the two places.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

November 21st, 2005

12:18 am: grounded, but no chicken.
a delegation of local police, accompanied by a young interpreter, arrived at my doorstep this afternoon to bring me a warning that i should not leave my apartment, even to walk around campus, for the next three days. apparently, with president bush visiting nearby in beijing, the threat for a terrorist attack on americans (and i am the only american around here) is high.

in other safety news, bird flu's most recent cases have been found in nearby cities. so no more eating eggs or chicken for me.

so, house arrest!

well, at least i just learned how to knit!

Current Mood: amusedamused

November 17th, 2005

03:52 pm: downright dirty
so, i'm notorious for being somewhat of a germ-o-phobe. i will not share your glass of milk, or your ice cream spoon. i'll get my own, thank you. likewise, i tend to handle raw meat as if it was toxic sludge, putting my cutting boards, counters, sink, hands, and anything else it might have touched or dripped on through a series of extreme sanitation rites.

since i've been here, hunger (and the desire to not be thought of as a weirdo) has forced me to abandon my thinking about what is good, clean behavior and what is not.

hot pot restaurants, native to the Sichuan province, are very popular here in NE China because of the cold, cold weather. at such restaurants you select a few dishes from the menu, then the waitress brings them to you raw and the diners then use their chopsticks to put the selection of raw meat and vegetables into the bubbling hot pot in the center of the table. raw meat? with the same chopsticks i feed myself? hmm, why not...they also serve lots of beer at hot pot restaurants...

one day i went downtown with lynn, shenyang native, in search of some earrings. lynn tried on pairs of earrings in stall after stall of the underground shopping center. wait, is it really ok to try on communal earrings? did i learn wrong that you can get some kind of ear fungus doing that and did i need to inform lynn!!?!? no, everyone else was trying on the earrings too. so then i remembered that i really just wanted to buy a bracelet.

it is a chinese saying that friends who make jiaozi (dumplings) together, stay together. so, bruce and lynn came over to make jiaozi last week! i was so excited because jiaozi is one of my favorite chinese dishes. first we had to go to the market, because i didn't have any of the ingredients. we decided to make our jiaozi with beef, so i went to the counter where the cow parts were lying and asked for some ground beef. the lady obliged, grabbed a chunk of beef, sliced it, and hand ground some right there. then, i paid her. she took the money in her hands, reached in her apron to find some change, and counted it back for me. little pieces of meat stuck to my 1 kuai bill*, and 2 jiao* fell onto a chunk of raw beef. she picked it up and handed it to me. not wanting to lose face in front of my friends, i put the money in my pocket with everything i learned about touching money and handling food drilling at my conscious to throw the money on the ground. my food handler permit says i know better than to handle money and food at the same time (especially RAW meat!!!) but the jiaozi were delicious...so so good. i'll post pictures of the jiaozi making later!

to sum up, it's no wonder you can't find that waterless hand-sanitizer for sale here.

* 8 kuai= 1 dollar, 10 jiao= 1 kuai

Current Mood: shockedshocked

November 9th, 2005

01:13 pm: so much to tell!
okay. so where to begin? how about with some photos:

Shenyang ApartmentCollapse )

Current Mood: proud I figured out pic postin
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